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Sereno lawyer slams Cebu solon who blames CJ for plight

By: - Reporter / @JhoannaBINQ
/ 10:30 AM February 14, 2018

Cebu Rep. Gwendolyn Garcia (right) claims the Ombudsman ordered her dismissal for her active participation in the impeachment process against Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno. (left) A lawyer of Sereno has denied Garcia’s allegation. INQUIRER FILES

The camp of Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno slammed on Wednesday House Deputy Speaker Gwendolyn Garcia for using the impeachment proceedings against the top magistrate as a reason for Ombudsman’s dismissal order against the Cebu leader.

Sereno’s spokesperson, lawyer Jojo Lacanilao, said the Ombudsman’s order to sack Garcia was based on the body’s own investigation.

“The claim of Deputy Speaker Gwendolyn Garcia that the Ombudsman’s decision to dismiss her from government service for grave misconduct is connected to her ‘vigorous and active role’ in the impeachment proceeding against Chief Justice Sereno is bereft of truth and wisdom,” Lacanilao said in a statement.

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“To set the record straight, the Chief Justice has nothing to do with the Ombudsman’s decision,” he added.

In a decision released Monday, Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales ordered the dismissal of Garcia over her involvement in the questionable purchase of a P98.9-million Balili property when she was the governor of Cebu.

The Ombudsman suspended the Cebu third district representative for grave misconduct when it found that she did not obtain authority from the Sangguniang Panlalawigan to enter into contracts with Supreme ABF Construction to buy the controversial property.

“She misused public funds to buy a property submerged in the sea. These are the facts of the case and these were the bases of the Ombudsman’s decision,” Lacanilao said.

READ: House deputy sacked over purchase of P98-M underwater property

The spokesperson refuted Garcia’s claim that she was being singled out by the Ombudsman. He noted that the anti-graft body, had its own processes and “it makes decisions free from outside control or influence.”

“It is unfortunate that Rep. Garcia is using the ongoing impeachment hearing as an excuse, albeit shallow, for her dismissal from government service and perpetual disqualification from public office rather than check the laws of the land on graft and corruption,” he added.

Lacanilao pointed out that Garcia “seems to be enjoying the special treatment” of House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, who had said that he would not implement the Ombudsman order.
Alvarez said the decision came late and Garcia was still the governor of Cebu. He said implementing the dismissal order would be unconstitutional.

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“The real tragedy lies on the refusal of Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez to enforce the dismissal order of the Office of the Ombudsman against Rep. Garcia, who seems to be enjoying the special treatment of the House leader,” Lacanilao said.  /cbb

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TAGS: Cebu, Gwendolyn Garcia, House, Jojo Lacanilao, Maria Lourdes Sereno, news, Ombudsman
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